Everyday Etiquette

The Art of a Thank You

I was recently asked if writing a formal thank you note is still necessary given the ease of thanking someone so easily and immediately due to technology. While technology does have the ability to greatly enhance our communication, it is not a replacement for traditional etiquette. So, what should you do to properly thank someone?

Whether it is for a gift, assisting you in some way, or a kind gesture, I recommend:

  • If you have the individual’s personal contact information, you can absolutely call him/her, or even text, to express your gratitude in “real time.” If you send a text thanking someone for a gift, you can even add a photo of you wearing the item, where you have placed the item in your home, how you added it to your garden, etc.
  • Even if you thank the individual via a phone call or text initially, still hand write a thank you note formally expressing your gratitude.

Unsure as to if you should send a thank you note?
If you question it, that is your gut telling you to send the thank you note. It is always better to be over appreciative than to miss an opportunity when someone should be acknowledged.

What is the proper timeline for sending a thank you note?

  • For a gift at a birthday or smaller celebration, such as a retirement or graduation, I recommend sending a thank you within a week of the event. At most, the thank you note should be sent by the end of the month.
  • When you are a house guest, send the thank you as soon as you return home or send it as soon as you depart if you traveling elsewhere immediately after. One thing I like to do is to take the thank you card with me and leave it on the nightstand after I leave.
  • For wedding gifts, I highly suggest you write the thank you notes as you receive gifts. If you receive wedding gifts prior to the wedding date, begin writing those notes as soon as possible then send them in the mail the day after your wedding (or leave them with a responsible individual to do this part for you)! For gifts received at or after your wedding, you have up to three months to send a formal thank you.
  • In relation to weddings, any gifts received at engagement parties, bridal/couple showers, or bachelor/bachelorettes parties, a thank you should be sent within two weeks of the event. If you happen to get behind on thank you notes, no matter what, ensure a thank you for those gifts is sent prior to the wedding week.
  • Any time someone hosts a party in your honor (like the wedding party examples above or a dinner party), ensure you send the host a personal thank you for the event immediately afterwards.

How do I thank someone for a gift I do not particularly like?

  • Write a note simply stating, “thank you for thinking of me” or “it was so generous of you to send me a gift.”
  • Avoid writing how much you like something or going into detail about the gift if you do not actually feel that way. It can cause awkwardness in the future, whether that be continued mentions about the gift or another gift related to the original gift by the giver.

With so many reasons to say thank you, one thing is for sure – Keep a set of thank you cards or personalized stationary at the ready! A beautiful piece of stationery truly adds that extra touch and gives your thank you a polished delivery.

Thanks for reading, y’all!



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